Triple therapy in uncontrolled asthma: a network meta-analysis of Phase III studies.

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Conflicting evidence is currently available concerning the impact on asthma exacerbation of triple inhaled corticosteroid (ICS), long-acting β2-adrenoceptor agonist (LABA), and long-acting muscarinic receptor antagonist (LAMA) fixed-dose combination (FDC). Since meta-analyses allow settling controversies of apparently inconsistent results, we performed a network meta-analysis of Phase III randomised controlled trials including 9535 patients to assess the effect of ICS/LABA/LAMA combinations in uncontrolled asthma. Triple combination therapies with an ICS administered at high dose (HD) were more effective (p<0.05) than medium dose (MD) ICS/LABA/LAMA FDC and both MD and HD ICS/LABA FDCs against moderate to severe exacerbation (relative risk [RR] from 0.61 to 0.80) and increasing trough forced expiratory volume in the 1st second (mL from +33 to +114). Triple combination therapies including HD ICS were superior (p<0.05) than MD ICS/LABA/LAMA FDC in preventing severe exacerbation (RR from 0.46 to 0.65), but not with respect to moderate exacerbation (p>0.05). Triple combination therapies were equally effective on asthma control, with no safety concerns. This quantitative synthesis suggests that ICS/LABA/LAMA FDCs are effective and safe in uncontrolled asthma, and that the dose of ICS in the combination represents the discriminating factor to treat patients with a history of moderate or severe exacerbation.

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